[This post is by our guest contributor Sage. They have been an amazing contributor to many Otherfaith spaces, including our Wiki. If you would like to know more about them, you can read their About page on their blog. We thank them for their excellent post!]
Reunion celebrates the final stage of one of the Laetha and the Dierne’s mythic arcs, wherein the two deities – having been painfully separated for some time – are finally reunited as a couple.
Reunion is about joy, and it is about love. It is about love that transforms the world. Love that is dark and rough, that bites or tears and stripes us bare. Love that is bright and shining and blinds us to all but itself.
It is about the love we have for our gods – and the love they have for us. Reunion is an affirmation of the love the gods pour out to us. The gods are especially close this month, especially likely to be near to us, to fill us with their presence.
Reunion is about peace. No fighting. No more war. The end of suffering. Reunion is the ideal, the pursuit, the hope that we hold within us always. Reunion is an affirmation that we have come so far and will go farther still. We have greatness and goodness within us.
Looking around, it’s obvious that peace, love, and joy are in short supply. It would be wrong, both factually and morally, for us to use Reunion as an excuse to ignore the injustices and cruelties of the world. The families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless other unarmed black citizens are in mourning after their children, parents, and friends were killed and continue to be killed by police brutality. The victims of rape at college campuses like the University of Virginia continue to be threatened, ignored, and blamed, while their rapists are protected. We cannot – we must not – forget that in the midst of festivities that we live in a society of atrocities. What, then, is the point of celebrating a holiday like Reunion? In the face of systematic hatred, subjugation, objectification, and genocide, how can we celebrate something as small and personal as reunited lovers?
Taken on a purely metaphorical basis – though the gods in the Otherfaith are anything but – Reunion may be seen as a reconciliation of humanity with divinity and of divinity with humanity. the Laetha is a goddess of shattered humanity whose form and identity needed to be fully destroyed and fully reborn, though never quite the same as before, before the West will accept her presence. She was born a human, died a fairy, and remade as a deity in her own right. the Dierne was at one point a star, crashing into the lands of Western Faery with his brother Mircea. Mircea became lover and betrayer to both Pallis and Arabella – the original names for the Dierne and the Laetha – whose actions in turn caused the Sundering of the West. Reunion then is the healing of two damaged, alienated forces yearning for wholeness. Humanity must be changed if it is to survive in the West; we must change our hearts and actions if we truly wish to follow the gods of the Otherfaith. Otherwise we, like the human Arabella, will be rejected by the West and there can be no place for us in that realm. But likewise, the divine does not escape its own transformation from a relationship with humanity. The people of the West mourn the Laetha’s death at the hands of Mircea, and just because the Laetha is now deified does not mean she is free from knowing what it is to be mortal. the Clarene and the Dierne are themselves altered by grief and bereavement, and though the Laetha returns to them, the status quo has been irrevocably changed. The pain we experience is the gods’ pain as well; they suffer with us, mourn with us, rage with us. They know what it is to be subsumed by hopelessness or anger or fear.
Reunion isn’t an observance of platitudes and false hope and too-bright cheer. It does not promise a far-off day of heavenly, painless perfection, nor a return to a time-before-time when the world had not yet been stained. If anything, Reunion stands as a witness to the suffering inherent in our worlds. Reunion can only be celebrated when there has been isolation, when the human and the divine and all that is between have been separated. We can only breathe a sigh of relief at the wholeness of the West and its reconnection to the other realms when it has been fully Sundered. We can only reaffirm our values of justice, equality, human dignity, and peace when we also acknowledge with open and heavy hearts the harsh oppression and violence that soaks through our own world and demands a reckoning.
One of the primary symbols of the Otherfaith is a compass rose with each of the Four (+3) Gods representing a point on the compass. The West is a land straddling the worlds of human and fae, created by the Clarene as a home to all those tired of choosing between life and love. One might see the Otherfaith compass as a guidepost to the West and the beings who reside there. One might also see it as an analogy for returning – or rebuilding – home. Home is a place of safety and belonging, where all are cared for. Home is where the disparate parts of ourselves – the star falling from grace for the sake of love, the girl rising from her own inferno to meet him – are finally fused back into wholeness. Home is not perfection; the Laetha’s self has still splintered into many shards and the goddess as a whole struggles with the loss of her own humanity – just as we ourselves mourn the oppressive acts of violence and hatred that keep us, collectively or individually, from our own humanity.
And yet, the Dierne is ever-ready to accept the Laetha with open arms. This is a radical love that moves mountains and burns seas, “a love that transforms the world,” a love that is not afraid to bare tooth and claw to topple that which dares to keep lover from beloved. Reunion is this love and so much more. It is the promise that we do not have to wait for the cessation of all suffering to return to the divine. It means that in our imperfect, broken selves that our imperfect, broken gods see something of value. It means that despite the storms raging within and around us, or perhaps because of those very storms, we are still able to find home.
Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.